Lost Islands Of Fate

The Orb

During our stay, here in the dwarven stronghold, I have decided to start keeping a journal, to record my thoughts and feelings. Perhaps this will help me to better understand this strange world that I find myself in.

It was shortly after leaving my ruined home behind me that events led me here. I had travelled to a nearby village, with no purpose or direction, merely seeking a means to keep travelling. It was my intention that when the money that I had with me was all spent that I could perform feats of strength or precision in return for some room and board. Also, I had powers that had come to me as a teenager, I believe given to me by the gods, that might help me make my way in this new world.

I was very depressed and despondent over the destruction of my home and the death of my brothers, but something pushed me to explore this world that I had no knowledge of. Perhaps, looking back on it, my will to live was not quite extinguished and vengeance lay waiting in the back of my mind.

On this particular morning, I gathered my belongings from the inn where I had stayed the night before. The night before, I had learned that the mountains in which I had spent my whole life were called the Angmar Mountains and that another village lay just a couple of days walk away. It frustrated me that I had grown up without even the simple knowledge of the name of region in which I lived. However, my self-absorption did not prevent me from noticing that the sun that rose that morning had turned the entire sky as red as fire. Perhaps this was a portent; I do not know for that is beyond my knowledge.

I walked the roadway to the next village, noticing little of my surroundings. Night came and I lay down on the side of the road to sleep. I was ill-prepared for the rapid change in direction that my life would take that night.

As I slept, I dreamt. Most times, even today, my dreams are of the battle that took my home and family from me, but this night my dream took on a different form. I dreamt that I woke from my sleep to see an orb hovering in the air in front of me. The orb was the colour of night, yet it must have given off some light for I could see it in the darkness. The orb spoke.

Alas, I do not remember exactly what it said. I do remember that it called me a “dragon-born”, whatever that means. Also, there was a reference to a curse, which I now know about, that help was needed and time was short.

In my worldly ignorance, I assumed that the orb was from Odin. Who else, I thought, would invade my dreams with such a message.

“All-father,” I replied, “where is the curse that you need help with?”

“Mordheim,” came the answer. Naturally, I had no knowledge of such a place. However, my experience with the people in the last village led me to believe that others might know of this place and could give me directions.

Then the orb asked the all-important question, “Are you prepared?”

“Yes.” I replied with assurance, for I would do whatever Odin commanded, as had been taught at the monastery.

The dream and reality seemed to somehow merge at this point. I awoke from my sleep at the light of day, feeling like no time had passed since the orb had appeared, yet it had been dark when the orb appeared and it was now becoming light so some time must have passed. I attributed the mix-up in time to the message from Odin, for I had heard of such things in the stories of the gods that my brothers had told me. The one thing I didn’t notice was the orb now hovering in the air. In fact, in my rush to get moving, I didn’t even look around as I started down the roadway.

However, after a few meters, I did notice the orb following me. I had assumed it only to be a dream and not something that would go with me on my trip to this land called Mordheim. Since it was still with me, I thought that I would ask it some questions that might help me get to Mordheim faster.

“Great Odin…” I began.

The orb interrupted me, “I am not from Odin.”

This was a surprise. If the orb did not come from Odin, the father of the gods, who else had such power.

“Who sent you?” I asked.

“High Priest Donovan,” came the reply. It was now beginning to dawn on me that perhaps this orb was more than an information source, perhaps it could take me to this land of Mordheim. The heroes of the epic ballads were sometimes aided by magic that transported them across thousands of miles; perhaps this orb did the same.

“Then take me to this High Priest,” I demanded of the orb. The orb demanded my acceptance. I am still not sure exactly what it wanted and also not sure if I gave it some kind of power over me but I let instinct guide me at this point. I bent one knee to the ground, like I would to a master at the monastery. Right or wrong, the orb enveloped me and took me on a ride I shall not soon forget.

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Lost Islands of Fate Campaign
Lost Islands of Fate Campaign
  1. The Orb
  2. A Group Forms
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A Group Forms
Time stopped as I travelled inside the orb. I could sense no passage of time, hunger did not burden me, nor did sleep overtake me. Yet I was not satisfied to sit quietly and wait for the journey to end. This has always been my challenge. Even during lessons at the monstery, I was not content to sit quietly but instead would ask questions, seeking to understand more.


So, I began to question the orb. As I said, no sense of time permeated the orb, but I know that I asked many questions of the orb. I was told of a great curse that plagued the land of mordheim, but could get no details of the curse, only that it was terrible. Mordheim, I was told, was a land in the sky, which I did not at the time understand. When I inquired after the High Priest Donovan, I was told that he was the High Priest of the Last Shrine, and worshipped some kind of unicorn god. Even I knew what a unicorn was.

When the orb finally landed, I found myself in a field of grass, open and clear, with the sun shining overhead, and a forest of trees around the edges of the field. Ahead of me was darkness, though. The sky in the distance was covered in clouds, dark and rainy. Beneath this darkness loomed a mountain, not as large as some of the mountains of my home, but big nevertheless.

Since I was on a mission, I walked ahead. Surely, the dark sky was some part of the curse that I had been told of so I travelled in that direction. After travelling a short way through the trees, I came out into an open plain with a village. After briefly surveying the houses, and seeing nothing either interesting or threatening, I made my way into the collection of wood buildings.

I must add at this point that I was very single-minded in my thoughts. The orb had told me of a curse, that time was short, and of the High Priest Donovan. Therefore, those things were uppermost in my mind. Conversation, diplomacy, and other such side treks, were not important to me. As such, I noticed very little of my surroundings other than what was pertinent to my focus.

When I entered the village, the villagers began to collect around me. Well, that was not unusual. Anytime someone new entered the monastery, many brothers were curious as to who it was and what they were doing there. I doubted these villagers were any different in that respect.

“I seek the High Priest Donovan,” I spoke, hoping that someone would direct me to him. Thankfully, these people were more than willing to help and directed me to a path leading into the moutain. However, I did notice something else, these people were very happy. I don’t mean cheery, which would be somewhat odd but believable. No, I mean happy as in smiling and joyous. What they had to be happy about I’m not sure, as I had thought that a curse hung over them. I’ve since learned that the curse does not affect them, yet their happiness is still odd. Someday, I’ll have to learn more about them.

I began walking the path that led to the High Priest Donovan. It took only a little time, and the sun had hardly moved when I arrived at my destination.

The Last Shrine sat at the top of a range of mountains, although they were more like hills compared to the land of my youth. I later learned that it overlooked the land of Mordheim, a desolate place, and that the great mountain I had seen upon arriving was Mount Mord (or Moru, depending on the speaker). The Shrine was built of white stone, with unicorn symbols carved into the walls. A few people wandered about the place, possibly acolytes or worshippers.

I approached one of these people and asked to speak with High Priest Donovan and was taken to a private room with a very old man who appeared to be in ill health. Perhaps this curse affects him as well, I thought. Before I could speak or ask questions, though, the High Priest bade me wait. Apparently, others were going to be joining us.

The first to arrive, and only shortly after me, was Jessedia Willowtrees. I had seen pictures of elfs (elves?) before, so her appearance did not surprise me. She is a brunette, much shorter than I, but much quicker and agile as well. A bow and quiver of arrows was slung over her shoulders, and I spotted a rapier in her belt. For protection she had forsaken formal armour for simple leather, which, like myself, did not restrict her movements. I later learned that she had been following me, as the first person to arrive.

The second of our party to arrive was Titania. She strode in full of confidence and attitude, although we had heard her coming. With a full suit of chainmail and a huge, two-handed axe, she was not exactly the quiet type. Titania is an attractive women, with dark brown, shoulder-length hair and blue eyes. She assessed the room as she entered and sat down to wait, without only a mere greeting to Jessedia and I.

It was some time before the others arrived. The next person was actually a group of people. They were Therin Valorian, Api, and Orilia. Therin was obviously a man of great ego, but great charm as well. In my time at the monastery, we had occasionally had bards stop by, for their tallents were greatly prized, and Therin seemed to be of that type. He was blonde, with short hair (unusual in the people I had grown up with) and a bit of a beard. He carried only a rapier and whip with both, neither of which would be much use in a fight, I thought. While his combat abilities were questionable, his charm and skill with people would probably help us in many other ways.

Api was a gnome, a race I had never encountered before. While Jess was a good foot shorter than I, Api was far shorter than that. Dressed in leather, like Jess, Api walked in with a smile on his face, already friendly with Therin. He almost seemed like a child, both due to his height and his baby-like face. For weapons, he only carried a small crossbow and short sword.

Orilia, unlike the two that came with her, was quiet and unassuming. Her simple, brown hair was tied back in a pony-tail and she came prepared for travel, with a backpack and staff. If not for her slight frame, I might have thought her a monk such as myself. With no weapons or armour, I was unsure as to her abilities.

The last to arrive was Thorg. Here was a walking contradiction. Thorg appeared to be part-orc, with huge fangs dominating the lower part of his face. Yet, in spite of what should be a facial disfigurement, he proved quite open and friendly, and I liked him right away. Also, Thorg was a big man, suited for feats of strength and could be mistaken for a warrior. However, he had harnessed an innate magical power and, with his mind, was attempting to unleash more of it.

Now that all of us were present, the High Priest summoned an aid named Rand Shieldborn. As it turned out, the High Priest was so ill that a long explanation of our mission and it’s history would be too difficult, so Rand spoke for him. He told us that the curse originates at Mount Moru (or Mord, as I said it depends on the speaker). Apparently, the curse does not cross the range of hills upon which we stood, so the people of the village (called Meadowvale) were safe. As to the origins of the curse, it seems to have started about the time that a tribe of the Mordheim people, called the Dragon Stone clan, entered Mount Mord seeking power over the other clans.

The High Priest then gave each of us an enchanted item to aid us. To Jessedia, he gave a pouch of magical berries with healing properties. To Titania, he gave an enchanted gauntlet that would aid her in making lethal strikes with her Glaive. To Therin, he gave a magical cowbell (that being Therin’s instrument) that would mend broken things. To Thorg, he gave three enchanted wands. I received a belt called a Belt of Bronze Dragons, that toughened my skin against attacks, making it more difficult to hurt me. Apparently, Api and Orilia had already received such an item for the High Priest gave them nothing at this time.

We also learned that Rand, the High Priest’s acolyte, would be joining us. I breathed a silent sigh of relief at this news. My training at the monastery had included group tactics, and I had learned that any squad should contain a healer, to help speed up the healing process.

After being invited to rest for the night, we arose in the morning and met in the courtyard of the Shrine. The High Priest was able to provide us with all the rations, water, and gear that we needed. However, before we set off we needed to decide where we were going. Jessedia pulled out a map of Mordheim that she had acquired from the magical orb that had guided her here, and we looked it over. After much discussion, we decided to head to the Stronghold of the dwarves. Rand said they had requested assistance recently, and if we helped them perhaps they could help us in return. We needed a guide, though, and Donovan recommended to Rand that we seek a man named Cormac.

After gathering what gear and rations each of us wanted, we set off. I was not optimistic about this group, as it’s fighting ability was questionable at best. As we set out, I voiced my concern with a dire prediction.

“We’re all going to die.”

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Our First Battle

Recent events have given me some time to write more of my journal. Looking at my last entry, it’s hard to believe that it has been so long since our visit to Stormhold, but time seems meaningless in these dungeons. It has been a while since the events that I will chronicle, so excuse me if I leave out or misremember some parts.

After leaving the shrine, Rand led us along a ridge to find this man, Cormac, that High Priest Donovan had recommended. Rand explained that Cormac lived in a more isolated area of the same ridge that the shrine was on. As we walked, the others talked, partly I think out of nervousness. However, I was preoccupied with thoughts of my own so only paid scant attention to what was said. I do recall Api mentioning that he is from foreign lands somewhere. Also that Orilia’s father had accepted the quest and come here and now she was seeking him. Rand mentioned some holy spear that he wished to find. My impression of Rand grew as we walked, since we had learned little of him the night before. He struck me as someone who was very bold but maybe a bit reckless in his actions.

It was only a short walk we arrived at the house of Cormac Drake. I was unsurprised to find that it was a small cabin, with only one room containing all the needs of cooking, eating, and sleeping. A small garden grew near the house, proving that Cormac was a very self-sufficient person. Cormac himself is a dark-looking man, very thin. Rand did all the talking, explaining our mission and paying for Cormac’s services. Cormac recommended we travel to the Sacred Stones (which I think was north) and then to the dwarven stronghold, Stormhold (which I think was west). He quickly gathered some gear and then led the way with, to my surprise, a wolf that followed Cormac with little or no commands.

A couple of hours into our trip, Cormac told us all to hug the wall of the canyon we were in. We did so, and he and his wolf went on ahead to investigate (again the wolf follows with no commands!). When they returned, Cormac told us that he had seen six mordheim bandits. He was able to lead us forward so as to avoid them and we soon left them behind us. The rest of our trip that day was uneventful, and we made camp in a cave.

About midday the next day, we had to climb a ridge in order to get where we were going. Orilia cast a magic spell (oh, she’s a wizard!! I thought) on Titania’s rope that allowed it to knot itself when Titania threw it to the top of the ridge. We climbed up, and found ourselves near the Sacred Stones that Cormac had mentioned. He recommended that we avoid them same as the mordheim do, but Orilia wanted to investigate as her father had studied them and had left notes. Titania was the only one who balked at this, rightly so it turned out, but we convinced her to go with us while Cormac went around.

The Sacred Stones are fourteen stones in a triangle with ritual symbols carved in them. I smiled to see young Thorg just stand and stare at them in awe. Therin started drawing pictures of them, while Orilia started copying the symbols down. The rest of us kept watch for trouble, although I believe Api kept checking the ground for something. It was only when we went to leave that we discovered our mistake. Somehow we were all compelled to stay and study the stones, all except Titania. I guess her wariness in the first place made her immune to this compulsion. Finally, after an hour, we regained our senses, none of us remembering what had happened. Titania explained it to us, with plenty of “I told you so” looks and we rejoined Cormac to journey across the plains to Stormhold.

Travel on the plains was both easier and harder than in the hills and canyons. We could see anyone coming from a much farther distance, but we found it much harder to conceal ourselves. This was proved when we spotted a group of goblins on the march and were unable to hide from them. We organized ourselves for combat, our first as a group, and waited for them. I was sure that Titania and Rand, in the front line, would do fine, as would Cormac. As for the rest of us, I was not sure. I was pleased that Thorg followed the same combat preparations
that I did in creating a magic armor for himself. Those with bows began shooting at the goblins, hoping to drop a few before they reached us, but Cormac proved to be the only capable archer amongst us. Then, my dire prediction from when we started out seemed to be coming true when a javelin thrown by one of the goblins pierced Api right through his shoulder, dropping him to the ground.

Only three days on our quest and already one companion dead, I thought, this is a bad sign.
Javelins from the rest of the goblins did manage to hurt some of my companions, although I easily avoided one aimed at me. Therin and Titania then showed their tactical skills in picking up the javelins that were thrown at us and throwing them back at the goblins, dropping two of them!! Thorg found his magical missiles more accurate than his bow and began using them, dropping another goblin. I followed Therin and Titania’s idea, and dropped another goblin with the javelin I had avoided. Then, the goblins made their biggest mistake. They moved up to attack us hand-to-hand. At the time, I did not know how big of a mistake this was. Time has shown me, though, that hand-to-hand combat within striking distance of Titania is very bad for our enemies. She quickly used her big axe to lop the heads off two of the goblins and damaged a third. I saw Rand move up beside her and cast a spell (which I later learned temporarily made her glaive magical) so I moved up beside Rand swinging my quarterstaff and killing another goblin. The goblins apparently did not learn their lesson about hand-to-hand combat and again tried to move up, and again Titania felled two of them.
However, they must have been more enraged because two goblins still in the fight hit Titania, although Rand quickly healed that damage with a spell. Thorg had been using his magical missiles and finally dropped another goblin with them. The goblins finally decided we were not an easy target and began flanking us. However, it did them little good and Titania was still able to cleave two of them down. It didn’t take long to kill the remaining few goblins. Rand went over to Api, who was miraculously still alive, and was able to heal him, although he remained unconscious.

After the battle, Jessidia was searching the bodies for treasure and I saw her pocketing some of the gold for herself. I did not get angry, instead I just mentioned that all the gold should be shared. She made some excuse, which I did not believe, and all the treasure was shared. We made camp a little ways away, and rested for the night. During the night, I had a conversation with Jessedia about companions and friends. I feel that she just made a small error in judgement, and that she is a good person. Events since that night have proved me
correct.

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